Last Friday I received an email from a listener questioning one's pride in their country.  The email came from Ted and Ted wrote:

Hey Renk,

This is probably a topic that will get me a lot of hate, especially this time of year, but I'd like to discuss the concept of pride in your country.

For me, it is something I do not understand. Pride is something you feel about a child who you raised into an exemplary person, or towards a cabinet you built from scratch. You are proud in the work you put in, because it was something YOU did, YOU created and worked hard on.

When it comes to where you were born, I don't understand being "Proud to be an American". I had no choice in where I was born, I have VERY little effect on the course of the country, and, outside of my immediate community, I will have very little impact on the concept of "America". America as a country exists with or without me.

So why should I be proud? I might be happy or glad to have been born in America, but I have no pride in my country, and I don't see why I should.

The same goes for flying a flag. I get that it is a symbol, but at the same time, it symbolizes "pride in being American".

I'm not saying this in an attempt to rag on America, what I am saying could apply to any citizen of any country.

Sorry if I upset any of your listeners with my opinions, but as you said earlier, "no one has a right NOT to be offended" ;)


Another one of my listeners, Steve, heard me read Ted's letter and he responded in the following manner:


You recently had a caller who questioned why we should have pride in America. It is true that we today had nothing to do with the founding of the country and the writing of the constitution. Those things were accomplished by the founders who set a template for opportunity. In retrospect, that was a bold move but I have no real reason to be proud of that. I didn't do it. However, I do have a sense of pride in what this country has done and continues to do with that opportunity.

I believe we have, to a large degree, protected the innocent, fed the poor, lifted the down-trodden, and encouraged and fought for human freedom and human rights around the globe, even paying the ultimate price for the freedom and rights of others without ever seeking recompense. We have developed technology that would never have been achieved without the economic freedom to pursue our dreams. We have even recognized our own faults (viz. slavery) and, through a long process of self-discipline, sought to correct the situation. We fought a civil war, sacrificing more than 600,000 lives, potentially forfeiting our very existence as a nation, in order to free those who were corruptly held in bondage by our fellow countrymen.

I believe we continue the ideals of that heritage even today, despite the fact that many have sought to alter history and depict the U.S. as an evil empire. We certainly have our faults, but I am proud of this nation despite her faults. There is not, and never has been, a nation like ours where the greater good is still the ideal, and I am proud of that fact since I am a part, albeit a tiny part, of the greatness we have been able to achieve.


I am sharing Steve's response with you because I think his response is very well written and explains his thoughts in depth.

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